Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Chase 051715 #1 Northern Ramsey Co./Northern Washington Co.

Well color me surprised when I walked out of my garage at 1100. The dewpoint machine already cranking based on the amount of sweat that was already beginning to soak my t-shirt and looked up to see this: 

Ruh Roh. Did we miscalculate the arrival of the cold front lumbering in from the west that was supposed to arrive much later in the day? Clearly this was a boundary pounding on the atmospheric door above my head. And it was cranking. I mean really robust updraft. Could this be the system showing its hand already? A quick look at the radar showed no one within high speed chasing distance nearby...

This was my storm. The one all chasers dream about. No one but themselves there to witness the event. And in the northern metro area no less. Only chasers in the very isolated areas of the alley are able to lay claim to something like this. Which would make this moment all the sweeter on a day where chasers are expecting big things to happen hours later.

Having setup the truck the night before, I raced North toward the cell that was clearly getting its act together. Fortunately, it was running parallel to I35E NNE toward the town of Hugo MN. a town that's no stranger to tornadoes crossing the freeway and ending up in someone's backyard saying hello to a newly built housing development. It has been a few years since the last episode and had me wondering if I was going to witness another.  

I decided to stop in Hugo at a closed and seemingly abandoned bank adjacent to the oncoming storm. Low level shear and inflow were on the increase and it was beginning to take on the look of what one would expect from a super cell toying with the idea of leaving a calling card.

It was nice of someone at the weather service to drop a track marker right next to where I was. It gave me confidence that I wouldn't be late for lunch If I stuck with this cell to its conclusion. I think it's the NWS's version of the Ned Flanders "Hidee-Ho Neighbor!" greeting.

A brief glance at the radar gave me even a little more confidence that (for once) I completely read the moment correctly and will shortly be rewarded with something resembling a tornado.

And once the rain core passed my position,  There it was. Rotating slowly. And the moment I grabbed my phone to call it in, It stopped.

Goddamnit! Here it was. MY storm! the one that would've landed in an un-populated area just NE of where this photo was taken in Columbus. Just a jump off the freeway. Camera at the ready. Wide open field, no visual obstructions, Sucking in the ingredients that would sustain its life.


Until the cold air from the top of the cell 45,000 feet above my head decided to rocket to the ground and interrupt the whole process by choking off any further ingest of warm humid air.

One day? I will get My Storm.

It just won't be today.

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